10 Inspirational Jimmy Carter Quotes, Because He's The Realistic Optimist A Former President Should Be

On Wednesday, former President Jimmy Carter announced he has cancer and will undergo treatment at Emory Healthcare in Georgia. At 90 years old, Carter is the second-oldest of the four currently living former presidents. Fighting cancer or not, Carter is an amazing speaker, and these inspirational Carter quotes show how he is able to tell it like it is, while maintaining an optimistic edge.

The 39th president of the United States, Carter served from 1977 to 1981. He is known for pardoning all evaders of the Vietnam War drafts, creating the Departments of Energy and Education, and handling the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Beyond the presidency, Carter is known for his vast humanitarian work. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Carter Center, a non-profit he founded with his wife Rosalynn to advocate for human rights around the world. Carter is also a huge supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Each year, he and Rosalynn spend a week leading an international Habitat trip, known as the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. This November, they are scheduled to take a team to Nepal.

In office and in life, Carter has worked to take on some of the world's biggest issues, including disease, trouble in the Middle East, and discrimination. With each issue, he has offered wise words and a realistic perspective.

On Taking Chances

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Go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.

On Values

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Earlier in my life I though the things that mattered were the things that you could see, like your car, your house, your wealth, your property, your office. But as I've grown older, I've become convinced that the things that matter most are the things that you can't see — the love you share with others, your inner purpose, your comfort with who you are.
We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.

On War

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War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children.

On Success

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I believe that anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment within which we live.
If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement.

On Failure

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Failure is a reality; we all fail at times, and it's painful when we do. But it's better to fail while striving for something wonderful, challenging, adventurous, and uncertain, than to say, "I don't want to try because I may not succeed completely."
It is not necessary to fear the prospect of failure, but to be determined not to fail.

On Women's Rights

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When our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are considered both different and inferior in the eyes of the God we worship, this belief tends to permeate society and everyone suffers.

On Gay Rights

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We must make it clear that a platform of 'I hate gay men and women' is not a way to become president of the United States.

A leader the world over, Carter's advice has been relevant to presidents, wars, and international crises. It can even be relevant to your Monday-morning-I-don't-want-to-work self.